Tips to help senior travelers breeze through airport security

words Alexa Wang

Traveling the world to experience different countries and cultures or just to relax and unwind is something people of all ages can do. However, while traveling can add more fun and excitement to your life, having to go through airport security checkpoints is a major hassle — especially for senior travelers.

Unfortunately, airport security has become a time-consuming ordeal that can be challenging for senior citizens. That said, there are several ways to help expedite your trip through security checks. Here are a few ways for senior travelers to go through airport security with ease.

Prepare Beforehand

breeze through airport security

One of the best ways to ensure a smooth and quick process at airport security is to prepare beforehand.

Knowing what the security process entails and what the Transportation Security Administration  will check for allows you to make the proper choices of what to bring with you and what to use beforehand. This will ensure that you don’t spend too much time at security.

Choose Your Clothing & Jewelry Wisely

At each security checkpoint, there will be TSA security personnel and metal detectors. This helps keep everyone safe, but it also means that you should take your clothing and jewelry choices into consideration before heading to the airport.

Clothing & Shoes

Many travel sites recommend wearing as few layers of clothing as possible. Multiple layers or very thick clothing could warrant an extra pat-down.

If you are over 75 years of age, TSA typically will not require you to remove your shoes or outer layers if they are relatively light. Even so, it is better to be cautious and simply wear slip-on shoes and fewer layers to avoid getting any unwarranted attention.

Jewelry

It’s also a good idea to avoid wearing any metallic jewelry or clothing that may have metal accents.

Any loose metal objects, such as keys, change, and jewelry are required to be put into an empty plastic bin to be screened by security. Even belts with metal buckles may be required to be removed and placed in the bin as well.

To avoid any hassle at the security checkpoint, take time to empty your pockets and make sure that you aren’t carrying or wearing any metal before leaving for the airport or heading through airport security.

senior travelers

Medications and Disabilities

Many seniors often have medications or special medical equipment that they will need when traveling. Most special medical equipment, such as prosthetic limbs, will need to be screened but will not need to be removed.

Prescriptions & Liquid Medications

Fortunately, most prescription and over-the-counter medications are permitted for travel, but larger containers will need to be packed in your carry-on luggage. While it isn’t necessary, it is a good precaution to make sure that all of your medications are in their original bottles and packaging with clear labeling.

According to the TSA website, when you arrive at the security checkpoint, it is not necessary to notify them of any medications you may be bringing with you unless it is some form of liquid medication.

Any pills or solid form of medications can be brought in unlimited amounts but must be screened when passing through security. For liquid medications, anything over 3.4 ounces will also be required to be packed in your carry-on bag, but you must inform the security officer that you have the liquid medications in your bag at the beginning of the security screening.

TSA Precheck

TSA offers a special program called TSA Precheck which can come in handy for senior travelers. This program, if you are accepted, allows you to go through security checkpoints much quicker.

Accepted participants of this program will not be required to remove shoes, outer layers, belts or even liquid medications from their bags, making the process much smoother and faster. The TSA Precheck program also has its own security line so participants can avoid the long lines of regular security screenings.

How to Apply for TSA Precheck

You can apply for TSA Precheck by making an appointment online or by walking in at any of the application centers at the airport. You must have proper documentation and pay an $85 fee.

In order to apply, you will need to fill out an application, undergo a background check, and have your fingerprints taken. Not all who apply for TSA precheck will be accepted though, so be prepared if you are not accepted to go through the regular security line before your flight.

Mobility Chairs

You can reduce the hassle of airport security by bringing a travel-friendly mobility chair, like this. If you are unsure about whether or not your mobility chair or walking aid is allowed on the plane, call TSA ahead of time to check.

Airport security requires anyone using walkers or canes to have those devices go through screening as well, but people in wheelchairs will only be scanned with a wand. Using a mobility chair will also help senior travelers avoid standing for long periods of time, decreasing the overall discomfort of having to go through airport security.

Preparation is Key

As with most things in life, preparation is the key to success and traveling as a senior through a complicated TSA system is no different. By taking the time to prepare your belongings and travel outfit, you can avoid a lot of hassle at the airport and start relaxing before your vacation starts instead!

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